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(cold) out of my heart and gave me charity on the steps of this very door: and its little the likes of him will ever darken your threshhold, lady dear, again, any how-rest his sowl! Well, success to Hamilton Rowan, and Counsellor Shiel. Shure there's life in a muscle, and luck before us yet.Hurrah for ould Ireland !"
Old friends gone for ever! with Shiel and Hamilton Rowan and ould Ireland !
These were well worth the trifle they extorted: and, thus invoked, patriotism “gave, ere charity began!”
causeur,” as Madame de Villette said on losing her friend Champfort, but one to whose judgment on all that was characteristically Irish, I could always refer with confidence, and by whose approbation I was always flattered and assured.
“Words that wise Raleigh and sage Bacon spake.”
The late Bishop of Ossory (Dr. Kearney), so distinguished by his literary attainments, who, though a bishop, was not ashamed to express his enthusiastic admiration of Shakspeare, frequently told me, that he thought the best commentators on that immortal genius would be found in the upper gallery of an Irish theatre. How many words, that have puzzled the learned for the last century, could find a ready explanation among the catholic gentry, and even lower orders in Connaught and Munster! Language in Ireland stopped short, with every other improvement, at the revolution ; ; and the penal statutes had an equal effect on the liberties and the philology of the people.
Speaking of Anthony (in Anthony and Cleopatra), Philo says,
“ His captain's heart, Which in the scuffles of great fight hath burst The bucklers on his breast, reneges all temper.”
The word “ renege," a poser to the English reader, is used nightly at every catholic card table in the Irish provinces ; where at the old fashioned Irish game of five and forty, an old lady " reneges” a card (imprudently played) by the licence of the game. In Queen Elizabeth's time every one wrote hir for her; in Ireland it is still pronounced so. Not a phrase, not an idiom, is now in use among the common Irish down to the lowest classes, that may not be found in the most classic authors of Elizabeth's and James the first's day.
“ Plaze your honour,” an address of courtesy now confined to the Irish spalpeen or cottier, after having passed through the hands of the upper servants and tradesmen of fifty years back, was once an address of respect from lord keepers to lord chamberlains, and from noble to noble, down to the time of Charles the First. The Earl of Middlesex begins all his letters to the Duke of Buckingham (James the First's favourite) with “ My most honoured Lord.” Lord Chancellor Bacon addresses with “ If it may please your lordship, and even in colloquial familiarity, “ your honour” was a phrase of courtesy, addressed to both sexes.
But obsoletisms are constantly mistaken for vulgarisms. In as much, indeed, as they are exploded forms, which have fallen to the exclusive use of the vulgar, they are so: for the vulgar of all ages are those who stand still, and make no progress either in language or in its source, ideas. The vulgar tongue, is the tongue spoken by the people. Dante and Petrarch were said to write in the vulgar tongue; it is now erudition to be able to read and understand them.
To begin letters with a long, formal, and ceremonious address, was the fashion in England up to the time of Charles the Second, whose court introduced the more refined simplicity of French forms and manners. Right honourable !” “My singular good lord !” “My right worthy !" and “ May it please your grace," "honour," " worship,” or “ lordship,” were all swept away with stiff stays and cumbrous fardingales ; and the letters from “yours, faithfully, Charles Rex,” to Harry Bennet, on the serious subject of Courants, Sarabands, and “ small fiddlers that do not play ill on the fiddle," exhibit a very different formula, from the letters of the discreet and well affected persons of quality of the preceding reign. They, in fact, have all the ease, familiarity, and equality of the charming letters of the Sévigné's, Coulanges, and De Retz, if not their wit, elegance, or good taste.
I have frequently observed, in the late Marquis of A- and many of his noble contemporaries, a tendency to pronounce after the old manner, as “hull," for whole; “marchant,
marchant,” for merchant; cheney,” for china ; “showlder," for shoulder ; “buzzoms,” for bosoms, &c.; and this pronunciation answers to the orthography of the great lords and ladies of Whitehall after the restoration, who being “un peu brouillés avec l'alphabet," endeavoured to spell as near to the sounds of words as they could. The Duchess of Cleveland, writing to the king, says, “ I never was so surprized in my hulle life,” &c. &c. &c. Jonathan Wild quizzes the ordinary of Newgate for falling into this jacobite pronunciation, by spelling whole, hull.
Many forms of courtesy, rites of hospitality, and traits of habits, manners, and customs, to be found in the old comedies, from the time of Elizabeth to Anne, are still observable in the remote